SF Sketchfest: Comedy Workhorse Bob Odenkirk on Matt Foley, the Birthday Boys, and Breaking Bad

He is the co-creator of the influential mid-1990s sketch comedy program Mr. Show, currently plays greasy attorney Saul Goodman (“You don't need a criminal lawyer; you need a criminal lawyer.”) on the blockbuster series Breaking Bad, and he has mentored Tim and Eric, the Birthday Boys, and others. And this weekend, comedic jack-of-all-trades Bob Odenkirk will be at SF Sketchfest for three performances. He is a regular at the festival and took a few moments out of his nonstop schedule — which includes live performances, film work, writing, and Breaking Bad — to chat with us by phone.

What were your earliest experiences in comedy — before you were ever paid to do it?

I wrote when I was a kid — I wrote sketches for school projects. They were comedy sketches. I got good grades and everybody seemed to like them. And I loved Monty Python's Flying Circus. It was my favorite TV show. I watched it and thought about it a lot. I liked the Credibility Gap, too — that was a group in Los Angeles that included Michael McKean and Harry Shearer. And early Saturday Night Live. As far as a big break goes, moving to Chicago and taking classes at Second City and meeting Robert Smigel — and then we roomed together. Robert got hired at Saturday Night Live, and a year and a half later, I was hired there as well.

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